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Field Research

2007: Pomo Indian Style Seed Beater

Whilst assisting Professor Gordon Hillman in the field in 2006, I was inspired by how he was collecting wild seeds.

Through Professor Hillman's interest in the subject, my curiosity gained momentum and after extensive research into seed beaters I eventually created a Pomo Indian style seed beater using buff and brown willow withies.

The seed beater is a practical tool for the job in hand and the design, shape, size and weight all contribute to its performance in the field.

. Seed Beater
Making a difference

18.10.07: Extracting rhizome fibres from the Lesser cattail Typha angustifolia for cordage

Whilst removing the starch from the Lesser cattail, I found the by-product rhizome fibres to be extremly pliable. This led me to question that maybe they could have been used to make string? I could not find any record of this though. The plant grows in water and already has the correct make up to resist rot. So with the combinated ingredients of excitement and experimentation I set about the following:


  1. Dig the rhizomes up.
  2. Dry for one day.
  3. Open up the rhizome to reveal its inside.
  4. With the edge of a piece of wood, scrape the inner fibres away from you. The high energy starch ends up on the back of the wood, which is really cool.
  5. You are left with the stringy fibres!
  6. Remove and twist them into string.

I believe this plant's fibres would have been used for net making and fishing lines in this way - as the cordage is fantastic.

. Cattail Fibres

5.2.2008: Alder Alnus glutinosa

Whilst working with this species, (the seasoned wood makes for excellent fire by friction material) I questioned why this deciduous species should have cones? The fact that the tree likes its feet in water, and can more often than not be found growing next to streams and rivers, I believe the cones are used as a natural flotation aid to disperse its seeds.

A real gem of a native, and I managed to catch the morning frost on this particular tree one morning.

. Field Research - Alder Alnus glutinosa

February 2008: Mineral Extraction

Evidence to support the ecological value of Brownwich and Chilling from the proposed mineral extraction and landfill - click here to download report »



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